Man Utd legend Ferdinand admits his ‘borderline bullying’ almost reduced Ronaldo to tears

Joe Williams
Former Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand says he and former Man Utd team-mate Quinton Fortune “borderline” bullied Cristiano Ronaldo during his first spell at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo left the Red Devils in November after a controversial second spell at the club with a bombshell Piers Morgan interview marking the end of his time at the Premier League club.

The Portugal international joined Man Utd for the first time in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon with Ronaldo going on to score 118 goals in 292 matches.

He eventually left for Real Madrid in 2009 after winning the Premier League and Champions League before going on to become one of the best players the world has ever seen.

Ronaldo has always had a super-competitive nature and Ferdinand has revealed that he used to “take the mick out of” his former Man Utd team-mate to build his “resilience” and almost made the striker cry after beating him at table tennis.

“Me and a guy called Quinton Fortune – another [Manchester United] teammate – we used to take the mick out of him a lot,” Ferdinand told Australian radio show Kyle and Jackie O.

“He was a lot younger than us at the time – borderline bullying, maybe, but it was just trying to, like, build him, build that resilience.

“We used to play every other day before training, as part of the warm-up. I used to smash him all over the place.

“He did beat me … it was me and him, [ranked] one and two, like Federer and Nadal. If it was televised, it would have broken records.

“He used to, like, almost cry and that, he was so competitive.”

Ferdinand has been one of Ronaldo’s biggest defenders in recent years and thought the media’s reaction to his move to Al Nassr was a “disgrace”.

Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel at the time, the former Man Utd defender said: “Let a man go and live, let a man go and enjoy it. It was great to see David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard… go to America.

“What a way to finish their careers, getting great money, going to a league that’s not as competitive, they’ve deserved that, they’ve earned the right.

“That’s all I saw in the media. But because it’s Saudi Arabia, it’s a disgrace, it’s sad. It’s a new adventure he (Ronaldo) is taking his family to experience a new culture.

“Every single country in the world has its issues, so America has got less issues than Saudi, have they? I don’t like it. It stinks we’re not hearing this type of talk. It’s out of order.”

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